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Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-440141


The presence of SARS-CoV-2 mutants, including the emerging variant B.1.1.7, has raised great concerns in terms of pathogenesis, transmission, and immune escape. Characterizing SARS-CoV-2 mutations, evolution, and effects on infectivity and pathogenicity is crucial to the design of antibody therapies and surveillance strategies. Here we analyzed 454,443 SARS-CoV-2 spike genes/proteins and 14,427 whole-genome sequences. We demonstrated that the early variant B.1.1.7 may not have evolved spontaneously in the United Kingdom or within human populations. Our extensive analyses suggested that Canidae, Mustelidae or Felidae, especially the Canidae family (for example, dog) could be a possible host of the direct progenitor of variant B.1.1.7. An alternative hypothesis is that the variant was simply yet to be sampled. Notably, the SARS-CoV-2 whole genome represents a large number of potential co-mutations with very strong statistical significances (p value

Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-213405


The SARS-CoV-2 infected cases and the caused mortalities have been surging since the COVID-19 pandemic. Viral mutations emerge during the virus circulating in the population, which is shaping the viral infectivity and pathogenicity. Here we extensively analyzed 6698 SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequences with specific sample collection dates in NCBI database. We found that four mutations, i.e., 5UTR_c-241-t, NSP3_c-3037-t, NSP12_c-14408-t, and S_a-23403-g, became the dominant variants and each of them represented nearly 100% of all virus sequences since the middle May, 2020. Notably, we found that co-occurrence rates of three significant multi-site co-mutational patterns, i.e., (i) S_a-23403-g, NSP12_c-14408-t, 5UTR_c-241-t, NSP3_c-3037-t, and ORF3a_c-25563-t; (ii) ORF8_t-28144-c, NSP4_c-8782-t, NSP14_c-18060-t, NSP13_a-17858-g, and NSP13_c-17747-t; and (iii) N_g-28881-a, N_g-28882-a, and N_g-28883-c, reached 66%, 90%, and nearly 100% of recent sequences, respectively. Moreover, we found significant decrease of CpG dinucleotide at positions 241(c)-242(g) in the 5UTR during the evolution, which was verified as a potential target of human zinc finger antiviral protein (ZAP). The four dominant mutations, three significant multi-site co-mutations, and the potential escape mutation of ZAP-target in 5UTR region contribute to the rapid evolution of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the population, thus shaping the viral infectivity and pathogenicity. This study provides valuable clues and frameworks to dissect the viral replication and virus-host interactions for designing effective therapeutics. One Sentence SummaryFour dominant mutations, three significant multi-site co-mutations, and 5UTR CpG escape contribute to the rapid evolution of SARS-CoV-2 virus.